Saturday, December 31, 2011

Champagne Mousse Cake and a Happy New Year!

What's better than ringing in the New Year with some Champagne. I bring you some bubbly in form of a gorgeous cake. So, have a piece and a toast to a happy, healthy year full of excitement and joy. And a big thank you to all of you my wonderful readers for your continued support.

My top 5 posts of 2011

5. Strawberry-Raspberry Charlotte

This is a real favorite of mine. I love a good summer-cake with lots of fresh berries and creamy mousse.
4. Gingerbread Cookies

Cute little Bambi Cookies for the Christmas season. They were rewarded in a contest from the German magazine Brigitte as one of the prettiest Christmas cookies.
3. Chocolate Mousse Cakes

These elegant chocolate cakes are a perfect dessert for a special occasion. Use a good quality chocolate, it will make all the difference.
2. Burger-Style Macarons 

A very popular post with everybody's favorite french little treat. These macarons come in a different look and resemble cute mini burgers. The toppings are made of fruit.
1. Raspberry Mousse Cake

This was not only this years most clicked post, it is the most favorite since I started this blog. A post that almost didn't happen, because when I finished the cake my guests already started to show up and I didn't wanna bother to take pictures anymore. But my aunt said I have to take a picture, because the cake is so pretty. So, I just took a quick snap and I am glad I did and it is liked by you so much. The cake is really very tasty.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gingerbread spiced Chocolate Mousse Cake

If you are still looking for a festive cake for Christmas, this might be the one. It is a chocolate mousse cake, spiced with gingerbread spice. If you can find it, you can additionally use spiced chocolate to make the mousse. Or you just use a mix of your favorite Christmas spices to flavor the mousse.

You can make the cake base the day before. Just allow some time to cool the cake after assembling so the mousse has time to set. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas with lots of joy and time spend with your loved ones plus many many sweet indulgences.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pecan-Orange Kipferl

Vanilla Kipferl are one of the most liked Christmas cookies in Germany. They have a distinctive half moon shape and are dipped in vanilla sugar right after baking. My kipferl today have a little twist. Instead of the usually used almonds I used pecan nuts, which is my favorite nut. For the finishing they are dipped in homemade orange sugar.

The great discovery for me in this recipe was the orange sugar. It does not only work for this recipe, you can use it for all kinds of things. It has a great aroma and I already made another batch with lemons. Packed into a nice jar it makes a nice gift, either together with some cookies or just by itself.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Marble Cake

For those surprise visits from friends and family, it is always to have a marble cake on hand. Everybody likes it and it can be kept for several days without going stale. This version of marble cake has a Christmas flavor to it, which from chocolate that is filled with spices and aromas like cinnamon and coriander. The chocolate I used was already very creamy, so it is perfect to use it as a frosting.

If you can't find a specific Christmas chocolate you can infuse the flavor yourself by adding ground cinnamon and coriander into milk chocolate or even gianduia (hazelnut) chocolate. If you are using regular chocolate for the frosting, you should also add some butter or cream to thicken it up.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

Today we celebrate the first advent in Germany. For people who don't know this tradition, Advents are the four Sundays before Christmas. Usually people have a wreath decorated with four candles. Each Sunday you would light one candle, so on the fourth advent they are all lit. You often meet in the afternoon for cookies and other goodies or go together to the Christmas market. I really like this time of year, and since last year it is even more special to me since I got married at this time of the year. We even took some of our wedding pictures on the Christmas market.

I just got some new cookie cutters from the market. I can usually never walk by these stands without getting at least one. Especially the deer looked so adorable, like little Bambis. I chose to make gingerbread cookies to try them out. They are really easy to make. The dough was a breeze to roll out. They taste really good and still have a soft center after storing them for a while. You can decorate them with royal icing or just leave them plane.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pear Almond Tart with Black Currant Jam

If you have ever been to Vancouver and are into sweets chances are you have heard of Thomas Haas. He is quite a famous pâtissier in the city and makes the most wonderful chocolates. He also creates my favorite cakes and pastries in Vancouver. There are two store locations, but you can also find his chocolates at several food stores. I am also proud to say that he is a fellow German. One recipe which was all over the internet were his chocolate sparkle cookies, named as one of the best chocolate cookies from the LA Times. They are wonderfully moist and very chocolatey.

For today I made his pear and almond tart with black currant jam. It is a wonderful tart for the fall season. The almond cream is so rich and buttery that it melts in your mouth. The tart has a few steps involved, but is totally worth the effort. The recipe was for one 9-inch tart, but I had enough to fill three more little tartlet forms. And on a side note, I wish all my American readers a very Happy Thanksgiving today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Apple Cake with Almond "Bee-Sting" Topping

Apple pie or cake is one of our familie's favorite Sunday treats. Luckily our apple trees were bursting full of nice apples. So, besides a lot of pies we made some juice, compote and also dried them for snacking. Most apples can also be kept for several month, if stored in a cool dry place, like a basement.

I often make apple pie with a streusel topping, this time I changed it to a "bee-sting". A bee-sting is a caramelized almond topping, with butter and cream. It is similar to a florentine cookie, and very delicious. For the apples I would suggest to use a mix of tart and sweet apples. Boskop and Elstar are some good choices.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chocolate Mousse Cakes

It's time for some chocolate dessert. Over the summer I made mostly fruit desserts, but now since it's getting colder my craving for some good chocolate is getting bigger every day. Don't get me wrong I can eat chocolate all year round, but in summer I prefer it in form of ice-cream.

These chocolate mousse cakes will make quite an impression. They taste wonderful and are a perfect dessert for a special occasion. There are a few different components such as shortcrust, chocolate mousse and marzipan all under a chocolate cover. If you plan for the cooling times, it will be easy to assemble.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Povitica

For this month's Daring Bakers we made Povitica. You might have never heard of this before, at least I haven't. It's origin is from Eastern Europe and it is basically a yeast bread with a nut filling. It becomes its nice pattern from rolling and layering the dough with its filling. I made the suggested recipe provided, just changed the dry yeast to fresh yeast, since I like to use fresh yeast a lot better. The bread tasted really good, not to sweet, and moist enough that you didn't even have to spread anything on top.

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Streusel Plum Tart with Yeast Dough

Plum Cake is my favorite early fall cake, so I was glad to see they were still available in the market last week, as we were already finished with picking all of our fruits a few weeks before. For baking, my favorite variety are Italian plums. They are more firm and also more tart than regular plums. They are perfect for a crumble cake, either with short crust or yeast dough.

This time I used a yeast dough and baked it in a tart form. Under the plums is a layer of crushed amarettini cookies, which prevent the dough from getting soggy and also give a great taste.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Apricot Tartlets

Seems like quite some time I haven't been here, but a lot has happened over the last month. We finally went on our honeymoon after 9 months of marriage. It was worth the wait, as we went half way around the world to Hawaii. My husband also got a new job, so we are in the process of moving to south Germany. Not much time for baking, but I already really miss it.

If you still have access to fresh apricots, these are some great little tartelettes. Otherwise you can also use canned apricots. Apricots always go well with almonds, here you have three different kinds, ground almonds on the crust, slivered almonds on top and some amaretto in the filling. I also put some wild peaches in the middle, but that is of course optional.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blackberry-Hazelnut Muffins

Blackberries are usually in season later in summer. Now in September it already might be a little difficult to get them still, depending on where you are. We have had a lot of them in our garden this year, but the wild ones that you find in the forest or on some hiking trails are still my favorites. They are just so much sweeter.

These muffins are really easy to make. They are basically like a crumble with fruit in the middle. They are a little delicate to handle, because they are so crumbly. There is also a good amount of hazelnuts in there and some lime to give a little zing. If you want to make blackberry jam, you can also add some lime juice and zest. It is a very good combination altogether.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blueberry Buttermilk Streusel Cake

Blueberries are a real treat in summer, and I think the best are the wild variety, as for most fruits. Luckily we found our spot for wild blueberries in the forest again this year. It is not the fastest or easiest fruit to pick, but it's worth the effort. People here used to do it with a big comb, but that method is not good for the blueberry shrubs as it takes off a lot of leaves, smaller branches, and unripe berries.

This cake is almost like a giant blueberry muffin, with a nice moist batter, made with buttermilk, and crunchy streusel on top. It tastes best on the day you make it, topped with freshly whipped cream. But you can store it under a cake dome for about 3 days, and it will still be good.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Strawberry Pâte de Fruit & Milk Chocolate-Passion Fruit Truffles

It's Daring Bakers time again, and this month's challenge were candies and confections. There was a choice of a wide variety of recipes. One option was the Pâte de Fruit, which is fruit gelée, something I wanted to make for a long time. You can use any fruit, which would be suitable for making jam. The process is also very similar to jam making. You puree the fruit, add sugar and pectin, then boil it until it sets. I thought the recipe given by the organizers was a little too meticulous on temperature measurement. I found another recipe which is a lot easier and doesn't need a thermometer. If you made jam before, it's a really easy treat to make. And they taste fantastic!

My second choice was chocolate truffles. They were dark chocolate filled with a milk chocolate and passion fruit ganache. It was really too hot to make anything with chocolate (how do you maintain the mixture at 27 C when the room temperature is already 30 C?), but I gave it a try anyways. I have made different types of filled chocolates before, but I still find the process of tempering the chocolate intimidating. One reason is that I usually do it by feel, since my thermometer is not very precise. So I usually estimate the temperature with my lips. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This time it didn't go so well, and I got some white streaks on the chocolate. They still tasted very good, though.

I will definitely keep both choices of confections on my list for gift ideas later this year. I hope by then I will have a better candy thermometer.

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Red Currant Meringue Cupcakes

Red currants are usually not everybody's favorite berry. A lot of people probably find them too sour. I am not a big fan of eating them raw myself, but they are very versatile for baking and desserts. You should try making a sorbet, or sprinkle a few of them over your müsli. I also like to make red currant curd and jelly. The black variety has a stronger almost bitter taste and is best known to make Cassis.

These cupcakes I made here have just a slight tartness to them. The meringue topping balances the sweet and sour delicately. A hint of ginger added an interesting taste. Everyone who tried them did not even think it was ginger; they were just wondering why it tasted so good.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Strawberry-Raspberry Charlotte

Unfortunately the strawberry season is slowly coming to an end, at least for the local strawberries, and they are of course the sweetest. The you-pick farms around here are already closed some weeks ago, so I was pleasantly surprised to see some really nice local strawberries at the supermarket. This summer hasn't been very nice in Germany and this means fall is approaching very fast

So, there had to be one last strawberry cake for the summer. I made a Charlotte. A Charlotte is made of rolled up sponge cake slices filled with a creamy mousse or custard. It can be made into a cupola like this one, or in a regular round cake shape, in which case it is often done with ladyfinger.

The filling I used here is a strawberry mousse with some added strawberry pieces and raspberries. Strawberry jam was also used in the sponge rolls. Don't let the end of the strawberry season stop you from making this cake. You can also make it with other berries or fruit. Try blackberries and blueberries or peach and mango, and I think they should also be very tasty.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sour Cherry-Pistachio Mousse Cakes

Sour cherries are very precious, because their season is rather short and they spoil quickly if not picked in time. But the good thing is that they are perfect for canning and that way can be used as cake filling or fruit compote all year round. I prefer sour cherries for cakes and canning since I think sweet cherries taste a little bland if cooked.

These little cakes I made for you today combine the tartness of sour cherries with a creamy and delicious pistachio mousse, all on top of a light sponge cake. The pistachio mousse is so good that it could be served on its own.

I also wanna take this opportunity to congratulate my mother-in-law on her birthday today. Unfortunately she is too far away to try the cakes herself. Happy birthday, 生日快樂 Ann.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Chocolate Berry Tart for my second Blog Anniversary

Exactly two years today I started my blog, Berry Lovely. I have made a lot of cakes, tried many different doughs, learned new techniques, and gained a lot of pounds. I started my blog to take more food photographs, but it gave me a lot more.

During this time I have discovered a thriving community of food bloggers and food photography enthusiasts. I learned a lot from these people and their presence, on-line or off-line, have been some the most enjoyable aspects of this blog. I thank you all for your support, and I hope to get more interesting and exciting recipes and photos for you in the time to come.

To celebrate my second Berry Lovely anniversary I made a berry tart, of course. It is a chocolate tart with a ganache filling topped with all my favorite berries. The recipe is from one of my favorite German pâtissiers Bernd Siefert. I didn't have the chance to visit his cafe yet, but I have tried many of his recipes. They are all really special and very good.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Fraisier - Strawberry Bavarian Cake

I have to say this has to be the most delicious Daring Bakers Challenge so far. What's not to love about the the combination of strawberries, cream and a soft spongy cake. But all the components of this recipe were exceptionally delicious. No wonder it comes from one of my favorite baking books, Tartine. The cake is not only tasty it is also a showstopper and would impress your guests at any party.

I changed the instructions for the pastry cream a little bit since I found it had a few unnecessary steps. I also used strawberry preserves instead of the syrup. The chiffon cake by itself was already very good, and could be used as a base for many different fillings. I was lucky to be able to pick my own strawberries for the cake, for the last time this year since the season is now over. I am planning to make the cake with other fruits soon, maybe with blackberries, but I think it would be good with all kinds of fruits.

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chilled Sour-Cherry Soup with Lemon-Quark Mousse

Chilled soups are a great refreshment in summer, either as a dessert or as replacement for lunch. This sour-cherry soup was especially refreshing because of its tartness. We had it on a very hot day, and it was the perfect lunch. I topped the soup with a creamy mousse, made with quark and lemon. If you can't find quark you can make it yourself using buttermilk. Meeta from "What's For Lunch Honey?" has a great recipe for it, which I used all the time while I was living in North America.

We are really lucky with all the fruits in our garden this summer, and sour cherries were of no exception. But it seemed that all the fruits seemed to be ripe at around the same time this year. The season started with rhubarb, then the raspberries, strawberries, followed by sweet and sour cherries, and gooseberries. Now the blackberries are getting ripe and soon we can pick plums.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Raspberry Mousse Cake

This is a truly spectacular cake, and is perfect for any special occasion. Well, mine was just that we had picked a lot of raspberries, which became ripe this week, so I made it for a nice family gathering in the afternoon. But sometimes it's those little moments you share with people you love that are the nicest.

This is definitely a cake for the summer when raspberries are in season. For the filling you could replace fresh raspberries with frozen ones, but for the topping you should use the fresh ones. It takes some planning to put the cake together, but all the components are easy to make. Just take into account that the cake needs a few hours to cool in between and before serving. Both doughs can be baked the day before you assemble it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cherry Clafoutis

A Clafoutis is a french dessert, which is made with a pancake like batter poured over cherries and then baked in the oven. Cherries are the traditional choice of fruit, but it can be made with a wide variety of fruits like for example plums, apricots, peaches, apples or raspberries. This batter is made with ground almonds, which pairs very well with the cherries. Some recipes use cherries with their pits, or leave a few pits in, since the pits will also release an almond flavor.

We have beautiful cherries in our garden right now, both sweet and sour ones. Usually I use sour cherries for baking and jam making and sweet ones are just eaten off the tree. But this year there are so many, that I also tried a few dishes with them. I have to say they are equally good for baking, you just need to use less sugar.

I am also happy to announce that I have won first place at this month' DMBLGIT contest with my picture of the burger-style macarons. Thanks to Charline from Charline cuisine for hosting this month event and congratulations to my fellow winners. Check out the beautiful entries on Charlines blog.
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